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'Young and the Restless' star Kristoff St. John dead at 52

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Kristoff St. John, who was a star of daytime television for three decades, has died at the age of 52.

TMZ reported Monday that the longtime The Young and the Restless star died on Sunday. His attorney Mark Geragos confirmed the actor’s death to USA Today, and CBS Daytime did as well, calling St. John a “very talented actor” and an “even better person.”

His body was discovered when a friend went to check on him, TMZ noted. Police and paramedics were called, but he was pronounced dead on the scene. There was no sign of foul play.

St. John was nominated for nine Daytime Emmy Awards for his role as Neil Winters on the CBS show, a role he has been playing since 1991. He won in 1992 and 2008. His character was part of the most prominent black family in daytime TV, with Shemar Moore playing his brother, Malcolm. Prior to Y&R, St. John had a role on Generations (receiving two additional Emmy nods) and, as a child star, appeared in the miniseries Roots: The Next Generations and the Bad News Bears TV show. He also did episodic work on shows including The Cosby Show, A Different World and Laverne & Shirley.

Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters on CBS’s <i>The Young and the Restless, </i>died Sunday at the age of 52. (Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters on CBS’s The Young and the Restless, died Sunday at the age of 52. (Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)

St. John had been dealing with personal problems in recent years. In November 2014, the actor’s son, Julian, died by suicide, and he and his ex-wife boxer Mia St. John sued the mental health facility where the 24-year-old died. Since then, St. John had received mental health treatment too. Around the third anniversary of Julian’s death in 2017, St. John was hospitalized and placed under a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation after allegedly threatening to kill himself.

Twice divorced, St. John became engaged to Russian model Kseniya Mikhaleva in September.

She posted on Instagram this morning.

Kseniya Mikhaleva via Instagram
Kseniya Mikhaleva via Instagram

St. John’s attorney Geragos tweeted that the actor “impacted everyone he met” and thanked fans on behalf of Mia and the couple’s daughter, Paris.

St. John is also survived by a daughter, Lola, with second wife Allana Nadal.

In the wake of the news, St. John is also being remembered by actors and entertainment industry professionals who worked with him or just knew him. Vivica A. Fox, who worked with him on Generations, Y&R and 2017’s A Christmas Cruise called him a “true gentleman” who she will “soo miss.”

Victoria Rowell, who played his on-screen wife, remembered her “beloved” co-star, but also took a swipe at brass for not reuniting them on-screen despite St. John’s pleas.

She added:

Y&R star Eric Braeden initially had “no words” after the sudden loss of his colleague.

He posted again to call St. John “a hell of an actor” and “simply one of the nicest guys ever! Can’t believe it!”

He added that St. John had his heart “broken” when his son died and he “never got over it!”

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Eileen Davidson, who worked with St. John on Y&R, told People, “An infinite number of hearts are broken because of the passing of Kristoff St. John. Kristoff was a loving kind generous sweet hilarious gifted human. He left an indelible mark on all who were blessed to know him. I am so grateful to have been able to work with him and laugh with him. My deepest condolences go out to his family and especially his children, who I know he loves so much.”

Yvette Nicole Brown called him “pure” and “kind.”

Kim Fields was “speechless.”

Viola Davis wrote, “The pain of grief and mental health should be addressed in the same realm as ‘physical’ ailments.” She added that she hopes he has “found peace.”

Daytime star Nancy Lee Grahn said he was one of her favorite people to hug.

Thom Bierdz, who played Phillip on Y&R, called him a “sweet, gentle man.”

Shavar Ross remembered auditioning together as kids.

Stan Shaw played his grandfather on the Roots miniseries.

Here are some more:

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

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